Cold Days

The Tale of Two Frozen Skunk…Fish

by Rebecca on January 22, 2010

in Fly Fishing

~The Look of Determination~

Since the beginning of the year I have snuck off to fly fish the honorable ‘in town’ Boise River….twice. The first time was a desperate expedition in bone chilling weather that was inspired by a doom and gloom thought I had circulating in my mind. A fact so consuming it began repeating itself over and over as I tried to fall asleep, as I did the dishes, as I worked, and so on….the annoying thought went basically like this: “I haven’t fished in 2010 yet.” or “I haven’t fished at all this year!” or “It’s Jan 5th and I haven’t fished this whole entire year!”

Clearly, it was a serious issue that needed remedied pronto. So I did what anyone in such a condition would do: I donned my thermals, grabbed my gear, put some some shake and bake hot packets in my pockets and went to the river.

I lasted 1 hour.

I blame Fly Fishing Santa. He didn’t bring me the waders I so kindly requested for Christmas, so I was forced to use ones I had last season. I forgot about the holes until I took two steps into the river. The water quickly and without mercy, poured–not trickled–but flooded into my instantly shocked foot zone. Once I stopped gasping like a northern pike minnow experiencing the horror of a bank rock party, I mentally decided I could suck it up and still fish.

My Frozen Fly Rod

At the point (I’d say around minute 32 during my self imposed test of mind over frozen matter) the pain in my feet became all consuming and each step became a sledgehammer coming down on my toes situation, I started debating mentally whether I really needed toes or not, all thoughts of fish forgotten now. It was all about toes, toes, toes…I finally decided I had shed the shame of not fishing this year and my toes were indeed worth a trip to the E.R. for rescue. Regardless….mission accomplished! I had fished!

As I lay down to sleep that night with my feet wrapped in two electric heating pads, a new thought struck me. “It’s 2010 and I haven’t caught a fish yet this year!” or “I’ve been skunked fishing this whole year” or even better, “You kept all your toes, ya wimp, but now you are a skunked fisherman.” That my friends is the agony of an overactive thought process.

A new desperate situation materialized. I called my dad, explained my despair and planned a new brilliant tactic. Fish with non-leaking waders.

~Fish On, Fish Off~

Unless I can count (which I know I can’t) one hook up that bend thy rod, gave me a 30 second thrill and enough time for my dad to pull out the camera and capture the moment…then I lost said thrill via a deveastating snap of line. We were skunked. We both froze. Two for the price of one sort of misery deal. (Thanks for joining me Dad!)

This morning as I look longingly out my window at the snow falling, I wonder if I should call it a season. Give it up, embrace my cabin fever and wait until it’s decent enough outside that hypothermia isn’t part of the menu. Does that make me a fly fishing wimp or am I getting old enough to wise up to potential limitations winter brings?

Of course, I know myself, if someone told me that the X spot is full of hungry trout and the fishing is fabulous, I’d experience an instant fever that no wind factor could freeze and I’d be off parting the water, kissing it with my flies and blissfully oblivious to all forms of frozen pain.

Rebecca aka “she who is skunked, she who has not caught a fish this whole, entire, long, long, year

Ohhh ~ And All Hail Ye Ice Fisherman, I bow to your polar suits and tenacity!